counter create hit The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel

Availability: Ready to download

“A brilliantly conceived page-turner.”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control “I couldn’t put the book down, reading most of it in the course of one increasingly intense evening. If fear of nuclear war is going to keep you up at night, at least it can be a page-turner.”— New Scientist America lost 1.4 million citizens in the North Korean attac “A brilliantly conceived page-turner.”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control “I couldn’t put the book down, reading most of it in the course of one increasingly intense evening. If fear of nuclear war is going to keep you up at night, at least it can be a page-turner.”— New Scientist America lost 1.4 million citizens in the North Korean attacks of March 2020. This is the final, authorized report of the government commission charged with investigating the calamity. “The skies over the Korean Peninsula on March 21, 2020, were clear and blue.” So begins this sobering report on the findings of the Commission on the Nuclear Attacks against the United States, established by law by Congress and President Donald J. Trump to investigate the horrific events of the next three days. An independent, bipartisan panel led by nuclear expert Jeffrey Lewis, the commission was charged with finding and reporting the relevant facts, investigating how the nuclear war began, and determining whether our government was adequately prepared for combating a nuclear adversary and safeguarding U.S. citizens. Did President Trump and his advisers understand North Korean views about nuclear weapons? Did they appreciate the dangers of provoking the country’s ruler with social media posts and military exercises? Did the tragic milestones of that fateful month—North Korea's accidental shoot-down of Air Busan flight 411, the retaliatory strike by South Korea, and the tweet that triggered vastly more carnage—inevitably lead to war? Or did America’s leaders have the opportunity to avert the greatest calamity in the history of our nation? Answering these questions will not bring back the lives lost in March 2020. It will not rebuild New York, Washington, or the other cities reduced to rubble. But at the very least, it might prevent a tragedy of this magnitude from occurring again. It is this hope, more than any other, that inspired The 2020 Commission Report.


Compare
Ads Banner

“A brilliantly conceived page-turner.”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control “I couldn’t put the book down, reading most of it in the course of one increasingly intense evening. If fear of nuclear war is going to keep you up at night, at least it can be a page-turner.”— New Scientist America lost 1.4 million citizens in the North Korean attac “A brilliantly conceived page-turner.”—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Command and Control “I couldn’t put the book down, reading most of it in the course of one increasingly intense evening. If fear of nuclear war is going to keep you up at night, at least it can be a page-turner.”— New Scientist America lost 1.4 million citizens in the North Korean attacks of March 2020. This is the final, authorized report of the government commission charged with investigating the calamity. “The skies over the Korean Peninsula on March 21, 2020, were clear and blue.” So begins this sobering report on the findings of the Commission on the Nuclear Attacks against the United States, established by law by Congress and President Donald J. Trump to investigate the horrific events of the next three days. An independent, bipartisan panel led by nuclear expert Jeffrey Lewis, the commission was charged with finding and reporting the relevant facts, investigating how the nuclear war began, and determining whether our government was adequately prepared for combating a nuclear adversary and safeguarding U.S. citizens. Did President Trump and his advisers understand North Korean views about nuclear weapons? Did they appreciate the dangers of provoking the country’s ruler with social media posts and military exercises? Did the tragic milestones of that fateful month—North Korea's accidental shoot-down of Air Busan flight 411, the retaliatory strike by South Korea, and the tweet that triggered vastly more carnage—inevitably lead to war? Or did America’s leaders have the opportunity to avert the greatest calamity in the history of our nation? Answering these questions will not bring back the lives lost in March 2020. It will not rebuild New York, Washington, or the other cities reduced to rubble. But at the very least, it might prevent a tragedy of this magnitude from occurring again. It is this hope, more than any other, that inspired The 2020 Commission Report.

30 review for The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ferro

    Jeffery Lewis has written an entirely realistic portrayal of just what might be in store for our country under the current administration concerning North Korea and possible nuclear war. Though Trump seems to be satisfied with his foolish assumption that North Korea is not a threat, this book shows just how quickly things can change in a matter of days... or, in this case, tweets. Written as a fictitious commission report from 2023 looking back at events of 2020 in which a nuclear war happened b Jeffery Lewis has written an entirely realistic portrayal of just what might be in store for our country under the current administration concerning North Korea and possible nuclear war. Though Trump seems to be satisfied with his foolish assumption that North Korea is not a threat, this book shows just how quickly things can change in a matter of days... or, in this case, tweets. Written as a fictitious commission report from 2023 looking back at events of 2020 in which a nuclear war happened between the U.S. and North Korea, Lewis gives us a story told very much like a novel, which was immensely satisfying to read. Throughout, he demonstrates the delicate decisions and momentary lapses in judgement that could lead to such a possible real-world disaster depicted in the book. The end result is, obviously, terrifying, but also greatly illuminating when it comes to understanding the seriousness of our precarious position when dealing with rogue nations like the DPRK. Of course, Trump is painted in a very unflattering light within this book, but it is nothing out of the realm of realistic possibility, sadly. Using actual statements made by Trump and his administration, and gathering historical context from recent political episodes, the picture painted by Lewis is both frighteningly realistic and utterly devastating in its scope, all while being one of the most thrilling reads I've picked up in some time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    Well, this is a super Speculative novel. The entire premise is to force us to face the possibility of a nuclear attack on the US by North Korea all of which arose out of a shootdown of a South Korean jet filled with students by North Korea and how everything spirals out of control. From a questionable measured response by South Korea to false assumptions by North Korea. A novel written as a governmental report, this is a fast, and readable book that grabs you from page 1 and does not let you go Well, this is a super Speculative novel. The entire premise is to force us to face the possibility of a nuclear attack on the US by North Korea all of which arose out of a shootdown of a South Korean jet filled with students by North Korea and how everything spirals out of control. From a questionable measured response by South Korea to false assumptions by North Korea. A novel written as a governmental report, this is a fast, and readable book that grabs you from page 1 and does not let you go until the end. It is an alleged fact-finding report as to what happened and what went wrong. It is obvious that the author is not a fan of Donald Trump and really paints him poorly, even though we was not the proximate cause of what happened. Nonetheless it is a good read, and its message is like other novels but the immediacy and the possibility of something like this happening forces all of us to question what our priorities are.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Terrific will do, for starters. Right out of the headlines will also do. The 2020 Commission Report... is written just as if it were an after-action report or investigation similar to The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States or The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The author is a real-life nuclear arms expert especially on the system Terrific will do, for starters. Right out of the headlines will also do. The 2020 Commission Report... is written just as if it were an after-action report or investigation similar to The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States or The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The author is a real-life nuclear arms expert especially on the systems of China and North Korea. This is a speculative novel that tries to answer the question of how we might end up in a nuclear exchange with North Korea and everything that is quoted or takes place up until August 7, 2018, is true and after that date, is the author's imagination. He has quite a good imagination. The format he chooses, that of the report, seems to add to the tension and at times, gives such a flavor of reality that it takes reminding oneself that none of this has actually happened. It's all told by testimony from survivors, staff reports, interviews of military participants, President Trump's staff aboard Air Force One and survivors at Mar-A-Largo. The action is fast paced and scary. With two such major players as President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jung-un, it's easy to believe in this or a similar scenario. Scary or not, it was hard to put down!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    Interesting account of a *fictional* attack on the United States in March of 2020. Of course, it reads like a government report, and is very sparse on specific details after the attack, providing an overview of what happened in South Korea, Japan, and the United States. The amount of detail on true events going back to the Korean War was interesting, and the author tied it all together nicely in an extremely plausible account. The only thing I really didn't like was President Trump's final statem Interesting account of a *fictional* attack on the United States in March of 2020. Of course, it reads like a government report, and is very sparse on specific details after the attack, providing an overview of what happened in South Korea, Japan, and the United States. The amount of detail on true events going back to the Korean War was interesting, and the author tied it all together nicely in an extremely plausible account. The only thing I really didn't like was President Trump's final statement included as a rebuttal to this report. Way over the top, and it added nothing to the overall story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henk

    A fast-paced and surprisingly serious thought experiment, relevant to our current unstable world According to a follow-up statement released by the White House, “consillary” is “an accepted anglicization of the Italian term consigliere” and is “commonly used by real Americans who don’t learn Italian at fancy Swiss boarding schools.”- a rectification government response to a mock-up tweet of Donald Trump Realistic and gripping, this fictional commission report investigates the March 2020 attack of A fast-paced and surprisingly serious thought experiment, relevant to our current unstable world According to a follow-up statement released by the White House, “consillary” is “an accepted anglicization of the Italian term consigliere” and is “commonly used by real Americans who don’t learn Italian at fancy Swiss boarding schools.”- a rectification government response to a mock-up tweet of Donald Trump Realistic and gripping, this fictional commission report investigates the March 2020 attack of North-Korea against the United States reads like a page turner in terms of speed, and packs a surprisingly serious and strong message against nuclear weapons. The set up to events spiralling out of hand is based on real history (the downing of a passenger jet by the Soviet Union in the ‘80s) and Jeffrey Lewis shows that not much needs to go wrong to have an international nuclear crisis. A offhand tweet by Donald Trump, feelings of being the junior military partner by South-Korea leading to a political decision to react swiftly, and a dysfunctional and hard to reach Trump government on golfing holiday in Florida, tip the world over the edge of a full scale nuclear war. The author keeps very close to historic events, like the invasion of Iraq and the responses of Saddam Hussein against the Americans, which especially in the final chapters give a very dark feel to the book. None of the nuclear attack survivor accounts is fictionalized, all have been derived from accounts from the bombing of Hiroshima, making the reading of the notes a very sobering experience. The author is clearly skilled in his subject and writes about military tactics and foreign policies in an approachable and clear manner, even triggering me to want to dive in deeper into books about North-Korea. Only thing I feel weakens the book is that by basing it so much on current events and extrapolating these, there is a large change the book is (hopefully) dated in a few years from now. Also Trump wanting to initiate a (real) war with China, only being stopped by an aide and his closing statement tot the report seem a bit too incredible, even for this president.

  6. 4 out of 5

    AC

    Enjoyed this. Like a fast-paced thriller, but with political savvy. My only warning is that events will soon overtake the plot, and the book will soon lose some of its surface plausibility.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kazen

    3.5 stars, rounded up Be rest assured going into this book, Lewis knows what he's talking about. He's a nonproliferation expert specializing in North Korea, has previously worked for the Department of Defense, and hosts the Arms Control Wonk podcast. He puts all that knowledge, from big picture to minute detail, to use here. The good: - It reads like what it is - a government report. It felt slightly dry in the beginning but as things picked up the understated tone was an excellent contrast to the 3.5 stars, rounded up Be rest assured going into this book, Lewis knows what he's talking about. He's a nonproliferation expert specializing in North Korea, has previously worked for the Department of Defense, and hosts the Arms Control Wonk podcast. He puts all that knowledge, from big picture to minute detail, to use here. The good: - It reads like what it is - a government report. It felt slightly dry in the beginning but as things picked up the understated tone was an excellent contrast to the big and often scary things happening. There are small bits of transcripts and maps, but not enough to call it epistolary by any stretch. - Everything that occurs before August 2018 is real, and that's something to keep in mind as you read. I'd see something off the wall and think, "No. Really?" but a quick google search or look at the extensive end notes will assure you yes, it's real. - Because of that it's astounding how much of this speculative novel is straight up fact. It makes you realize how many pieces are in play that could contribute to a real life nuclear war. - A not small part of this is the current US president and his staff. Lewis uses many people you know and is artful when adding his own characters. For example, when relations with North Korea start to sour the president fires an entire department of his staff by tweet. Not only is it (sadly) believable, but it lets Lewis bring in fictional characters in key roles. That way there's no second guessing ('Bolton would never do that!') and no predicting how someone will act. - The actions and psychology ring true and show how the way the president is 'handled' could back fire. "It was weird," one aide explained. "Normally we just didn't correct him, especially not when it was an excuse not to do something crazy. But now, all of a sudden, all this stuff was working against us. And we didn't know how to push back." - Much thought and effort was put into sections dealing with South Korea and Japan and it shows. I usually have a nitpick about the representation of Japanese life in novels but not here - well done. - Lewis' specialty is policy so the plot is almost completely about the lead up to and strategies of the war. It's through and well-paced once you get over a small lump of set up at the beginning. - The acknowledgements slayed me with the care and respect Lewis shows. You'll see it when you get there. The not-so-good: - Details of the aftermath are thin and not particularly well thought out, especially when compared to Warday. There is zero mention of fallout, which I thought odd, and lots of stuff is glossed over. - There is no mention of how those from bombed cities are treated, or how such massive damage could threaten to fracture the country along regional lines as well as political ones. - I had a couple of issues with medical content, but I doubt many people will be tempted to shout 'perimortem c-section!' at the page like I was. - While perfect for this exact moment I'm not sure it will hold up over time as real events eclipse the time span covered. All in all it's a quick read full of fascinating what-ifs that have a non-zero chance of happening. If it sounds interesting you may want to pick it up sooner rather than later to enjoy the full effect.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    I wish I could have given this book 4.5 stars. Dr. Lewis’s writing is best when dealing with areas he is most comfortable: the technical and geopolitical dimensions of nuclear deterrence and war. It is weakest when it comes to projecting an essential character: President Trump. To be fair, the portrait of Trump’s actions and emotions seem insightful and well-thought out. However, imagined tweets feel like they are almost spot on; his dialogue feels further from the truth; his “statement” include I wish I could have given this book 4.5 stars. Dr. Lewis’s writing is best when dealing with areas he is most comfortable: the technical and geopolitical dimensions of nuclear deterrence and war. It is weakest when it comes to projecting an essential character: President Trump. To be fair, the portrait of Trump’s actions and emotions seem insightful and well-thought out. However, imagined tweets feel like they are almost spot on; his dialogue feels further from the truth; his “statement” included at the end of the report feels like a deep-learning AI was fed all of trump’s tweets, campaign speeches, interviews, and rally ramblings and spit out an amalgamation of all the well-known trump cliches. Honestly, even with the few content errors that might be expected from a first release, I probably would have given the book 5 stars before I read the “statement by former president of the United States Donald J. Trump”. Still, if you are a fan of speculative fiction, or government, or politics, or foreign policy, or nuclear disarmament, give it a read. I promise you’ll scare yourself more than once when you catch your mind thinking what’s being reported is real...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Justin Weiss

    The gimmick was cool (everything accurate and sourced as of August 2018!), it was a fast read, and I loved how much the escalation reminded me of tech postmortems. Everything is already broken in 10 different ways, but it’s the 11th that causes everything to collapse. It felt really rushed toward the end, and was missing the detail that I liked in the first half. If you’re going to read it, read it now, because it’ll lose something as we catch up with the timeline.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charles J

    For some time now, I have been telling my children, none of whom have ever lived through any event that significantly harmed America, that sooner or later, history will return. The older ones roll their eyes; the younger ones have no idea what I mean. This book shows what I mean, through a fictionalized look at a 2020 nuclear attack by North Korea on South Korea, Japan, and the United States. The book is an imagined report, probably a lot less dry than most actual official reports, written by a 2 For some time now, I have been telling my children, none of whom have ever lived through any event that significantly harmed America, that sooner or later, history will return. The older ones roll their eyes; the younger ones have no idea what I mean. This book shows what I mean, through a fictionalized look at a 2020 nuclear attack by North Korea on South Korea, Japan, and the United States. The book is an imagined report, probably a lot less dry than most actual official reports, written by a 2023 bipartisan commission examining why the conflict had occurred. It is very well written by Jeffrey Lewis, a California academic focused on foreign affairs. In short, what happens is that the North Koreans shoot down a South Korean airliner full of children, mistakenly believing it to be a United States bomber on a provocation run, at the same time annual South Korean/United States war games are being conducted. Instead of coordinating with the United States, which has a history of de-escalating and requiring the South Koreans to follow our lead, the South Korean prime minister uses missiles to destroy the North Korean Air Defense headquarters and one of Kim Jong Il’s palaces. With communications largely cut off because of inferior infrastructure, and figuring this is the prelude to a full-scale invasion by the United States, Kim sends short-range nuclear weapons against Japan and South Korea, killing two million people. The United States begins a conventional attack; Kim, deciding to survive he must up the ante by showing he’s willing to keep escalating, sends long-range nuclear missiles against the United States, destroying Manhattan, Honolulu, northern Virginia, and Jupiter, Florida (near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago). Four million Americans die (and North Korea is promptly defeated, and Kim killed, by American and South Korean conventional forces). So history, in this telling, returns. Verisimilitude is high. The technical details seem accurate and are compelling, even ones that are somewhat speculative, such as North Korean use of drones to blind antimissile radar. The role of rumors and how Kim might view the same events differently from us is well drawn—he can’t know that the Americans aren’t actually planning to invade, though the Americans know, and in the typical American way, think that should be obvious. Other details are also gruesomely fascinating, such as the possibility that the cladding put on modern high-rise buildings for environmental reasons will burn when exposed to nuclear heat, turning, in this case, Tokyo into a series of torches (like the Grenfell Tower fire in London last year). Thus, the book is a real page-turner, though not one calculated to make you sleep better that night. Various real people appear, drawn incisively, along with a few fictional people. All Americans profiled are Republicans; there are some side references to partisan conflict occurring after the war, but no Democrats are mentioned, which makes sense, since the decision making all takes place within the Trump administration during a forty-eight hour period. The portrayal of hawkish behavior, with the same men responsible for the Iraq debacle (and the Libya debacle) still pushing a policy of American hegemony in a world that has moved on, seems quite accurate, and the depiction of decision making is interesting, in part because it shows what was also on display after the September 11 attacks, that people at the top of government act just as muddled and confused as you and I would if put in the same position—it’s not like the movies, where crisp, decisive debates and decisions feature. Oddly, an old acquaintance of mine even appears—Jon Lerner, a man who is apparently now Nikki Haley’s deputy. I’m at the age when I now have a fair number of such acquaintances—not famous, exactly, but known in certain circles. Not me, though. Nobody knows who I am. Sad! Anyway, my point is that while several of the real people profiled in this book are portrayed as having dubious characteristics, especially Nikki Haley, only one person is portrayed as having no redeeming characteristic whatsoever. That’s Donald Trump, who is portrayed as one hundred percent fool, and an unintelligent, tone-deaf coward to boot. Not only are his actions portrayed as stupid, he is portrayed as, among other things, demanding his golf score on the day in question go into the Commission’s report, leaving his staff behind when Air Force One lifts off ahead of the nuclear blasts, and saying only “Absolutely beautiful!” when he sees the mushroom cloud. This portrayal seems wildly unlikely, although I suppose I can’t say for sure, since I don’t know Trump and it seems nearly impossible to get a straight, unbiased opinion about him, something for which he surely bears a lot of the blame. In Lewis’s telling, it’s Trump’s tweets that are the real cause, if there is one, of the war. One part of the reason Kim launches nuclear weapons is because, when he hears about the airliner shootdown and before Trump knows about the South Korean prime minister’s launching missiles, Trump tweets that “LITTLE ROCKET MAN WON’T BE BOTHERING US FOR MUCH LONGER!” This makes Kim conclude, contrary to what the South Koreans claim, that the missiles are merely the spearhead of a coordinated invasion by the United States and South Korea. Certainly, this seems like a plausible result of such a tweet by Trump. But is it a plausible tweet by Trump? I have heard a lot about Trump’s tweets, and, like everyone else, I read the ones that are highlighted by the media. However, those are the only ones I see; like most people, I don’t read or even see the others. So I went and read the past few months’ worth. Trump sure tweets a lot. But none of his tweets seem unhinged or even stupid, which is the certainly the impression one gets from the few tweets that get wide play in the media (which is probably why they get wide play in the media). For example, in a typical missive, yesterday Trump tweeted (and then re-tweeted), “Presidential Approval numbers are very good—strong economy, military and just about everything else. Better numbers than Obama at this point, by far. We are winning on just about every front and for that reason there will not be a Blue Wave, but there might be a Red Wave!” As far as I know, most or all of that is true, or a reasonable prediction. I went back a long way in Trump’s Twitter feed, and no tweet seemed in any way particularly odd, or showing any evidence of stupidity, foolishness, or any other notable vice. Yes, the limitations of the medium make some statements seem half-developed, and Trump’s phrasing is very informal. And unfiltered, personal tweeting is not something any other President has done. Certainly Obama, a disciplined man, didn’t do it. So why does Trump do it? The answer traditionally given seems to be he lacks self-control, wants the attention, and gets a feeling of aggrandizement from tweeting. These seem unlikely to be the primary reason (even if all those things are true, which they probably are). A much more likely primary answer is that Trump realized, early on, that Twitter is the only way he can talk directly to the public, who get most of their news filtered through the Left’s organs (which no longer even pretend to objectivity). He knows that any interview he gives with any mainstream television or print reporter will be used for one purpose, and one purpose only—to attempt to destroy him, by suppressing anything positive, playing up anything negative, using out-of-context (or wholly made up) quotes to paint him in a bad light, and pairing the writing with unappealing visual images. He knows this treatment is the precise opposite that given to any politician of the Left. Trump seems like a man with a nose for weakness and a fondness for aikido moves. Simply avoiding the hostile media, and forcing them to cover all of what he really says by making it short, rather than allowing them to edit it, is the answer. Frankly, it strikes me as genius, even if it may come from a form of instinctive low cunning, rather than the 3D chess that people like Scott Adams ascribe it to. (And if Trump really is such a fool as portrayed in this book, he is blessed, so far, in both his enemies and circumstance.) But tweeting is not without limitations, certainly. Why does Trump tweet without first getting advice or filtering his tweets through the State Department or other government functionaries? Probably because he’s figured out that would delay and neuter the effects he desires. Why does he tweet himself, given that he could have hired consultants to write and post tweets for him? I imagine for the same reason, and because that’s what Jeb Bush did. Remember him? Maybe realizing that Trump’s actual tweeting suggests discipline, not lack of control, Lewis makes up more extreme future tweets from Trump, including attacking Kim’s sister, making unflattering remarks about her physical appearance and suggesting she would grant him sexual favors. I suppose Trump might do such a thing, and if you’re a dictator who thinks that removing your family from power is the goal of your enemies (about which he’s not wrong), that would go down poorly and increase paranoia. But as far as I know, such tweets are far removed from anything Trump has ever tweeted. Along the same lines, Lewis reaches too far in his desperation to smear Trump, and erodes the realism of his book, by accusing Trump on no evidence of having an affair with Nikki Haley. He claims all his pre-August, 2018 facts are supported by endnotes, but this is often false, and when it’s true, for anti-Trump statements it’s usually to an “anonymous source” repeated in some unhinged anti-Trump outlet. Really, Lewis makes out Trump as more of a villain than Kim, even ending the book with a caricatured unhinged “statement” from Trump attacking the 2020 Commission. It gets tedious. That Trump can get around media gatekeepers using social media is a big problem for the legacy media and the Left (but I repeat myself). The Left realizes this truth, which is why they are at this moment aggressively and successfully moving to deplatform and censor conservatives across all alternative media outlets. For example, this week Google, Apple, and Facebook (but not Twitter, yet), in a collusive, coordinated attack, totally deplatformed conspiracy-monger Alex Jones. Sure, Jones is an idiot. But such deplatforming only ever attacks the Right, and the Lords of Tech (and their allies in Congress) are increasingly open about the goal of extending the deplatforming to all conservatives, other than those who are willing to be docile and obedient subordinates, such as Jonah Goldberg. Not to mention that since a lot of conservative figures on social media rely on that media to make a living, the chilling effect of deplatforming, even if they are not themselves directly targeted, makes them censor themselves. Which is the desired effect. The only answer is to curb these companies and their executives. A good start would be to immediately regulate them as public utilities, and subject them to rules that forbid any viewpoint discrimination in which the federal government could not engage under the First Amendment (yes, I know the First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies—this will be statutory). We can begin with a private right of action for violations (as well as government enforcement, including felony criminal penalties for deliberate or repeated violations), with minimum statutory damages of $500,000 per violation, a second private right of action against their executives personally, and one-way fee shifting for all plaintiffs who bring any lawsuit determined to be non-frivolous, even if they don’t prevail. Unfortunately, this sort of thing isn’t what Republicans do; it’s only Democrats that believe they need to actually attack and win battles. That needs to change—and Trump threatens to change it, which is why the Left knows it must destroy him. At the end of the book, Lewis portrays an America in deep trouble, with its economy in tatters and facing a rebuilding cost of $40 trillion. That seems an impossible amount to spend, given that it’s more than ten times the current federal budget, much of which is already borrowed, and which absorbs more than twenty percent of the current GDP. And why would you re-build Manhattan? Or Northern Virginia, for that matter. I’d leave both in ruins, and use it as an excuse to rusticate all federal bureaucrats, scattering them around the country and wholly abandoning Washington, D.C. As Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” Moreover, events such as those portrayed in this book might be the fracture that jolts Americans into changing our entire system, or accepting a change given to them, such as the wholesale neutering of the federal government or, even better, the fragmenting of the country into multiple successor entities. I’m certainly not in favor of disasters; any person with children can’t be. But whether we want it or not, disasters is what we will get, of this type or another, something we seem to have largely forgotten over the past several decades, and we might as well be thinking of to what advantage they can be turned.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Utterly compelling and more than a little frightening, the perfect holiday read. It probably qualifies as disaster porn, but when was the last time you read a thriller that had a full notes section at the end that includes references to articles in academic journals? It all seems terrifyingly plausible, particularly given what we seem to know about the dysfunctional Trump administration. (And if you’re in a dark mood today about having to go back to work after the holiday, check out the ‘Nukemap’ Utterly compelling and more than a little frightening, the perfect holiday read. It probably qualifies as disaster porn, but when was the last time you read a thriller that had a full notes section at the end that includes references to articles in academic journals? It all seems terrifyingly plausible, particularly given what we seem to know about the dysfunctional Trump administration. (And if you’re in a dark mood today about having to go back to work after the holiday, check out the ‘Nukemap’ website that the author mentions in the refs and drop a bomb on your office.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    3.5 stars, rounded up. What's good: Fascinating idea. Fast pace for the most part. A speculative fiction novel with a solid grounding in the here and now. What's not so good: Not a word about fallout, though the black rain may have been a description of fallout. Nothing about wind patterns bringing radiation clouds to other areas. Not a word about birth defects. Nothing about victims inadvertently sickening others (when the Chernobyl firefighters got medical attention, they had absorbed so many m 3.5 stars, rounded up. What's good: Fascinating idea. Fast pace for the most part. A speculative fiction novel with a solid grounding in the here and now. What's not so good: Not a word about fallout, though the black rain may have been a description of fallout. Nothing about wind patterns bringing radiation clouds to other areas. Not a word about birth defects. Nothing about victims inadvertently sickening others (when the Chernobyl firefighters got medical attention, they had absorbed so many millirems of radiation that they made the doctors and nurses sick). Nothing about prejudice against refugees. Nothing about the United States breaking up (or almost breaking up) into autonomous regions. Only three mentions of Russia. Almost nothing about Europe. Nothing about South America, Africa, or Australia. I'm not crazy about the fact that he got students to translate the Japanese testimonies rather than a professional translator.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    I found this book to be a weirdly fun page-turner that paints a plausible path to nuclear war based on a string of coincidences and miscommunications. The MAGA crowd will not be pleased, but the presentation of President Trump as a callous blowhard whose bluster exacerbates the situation with Kim Jong-Un seems pretty realistic. With that being said, even as someone who is no fan of the administration, some of the invented dialogue and fictional tweets from Trump are painfully unfunny, and the ja I found this book to be a weirdly fun page-turner that paints a plausible path to nuclear war based on a string of coincidences and miscommunications. The MAGA crowd will not be pleased, but the presentation of President Trump as a callous blowhard whose bluster exacerbates the situation with Kim Jong-Un seems pretty realistic. With that being said, even as someone who is no fan of the administration, some of the invented dialogue and fictional tweets from Trump are painfully unfunny, and the jabs at unrelated things like Nikki Haley's rumoured promiscuity felt like tacky cheap shots, as well as being out of character for the putative report. While World War Z sets the high water mark in this genre, and the 2020 Commission doesn't have anywhere near the character, complexity, and scope of World War Z, but Lewis' book ably fulfills its mission and premise. Regarding some of the negative reader reviews, people should be clear what the genre of this book is–it's not a Clancy techno-thriller–and keep in mind that many real conflicts have been based on chains of coincidences, miscommunications, and misunderstandings between powers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bob H

    A speculative novel, in the format of a U.S. government commission report, on a nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea in March 2020. It's well-written, the prose is fast-paced even in a bureaucratic framing, and the author sets the event in a real-life context: everything he describes up to mid-2018 -- our reality -- is in place. Certainly the chain of events, starting with an international incident (in this case, a shoot-down of a stray South Korean civilian airliner), the missed signals A speculative novel, in the format of a U.S. government commission report, on a nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea in March 2020. It's well-written, the prose is fast-paced even in a bureaucratic framing, and the author sets the event in a real-life context: everything he describes up to mid-2018 -- our reality -- is in place. Certainly the chain of events, starting with an international incident (in this case, a shoot-down of a stray South Korean civilian airliner), the missed signals and ill-informed decision-making, then a series of escalations, are all plausible enough; a series of missteps like those which unfolded in June and July 1914 and led to a similar apocalypse. The weaponry and terrible effects on civilian populations seem plausible enough; I've studied enough of this in my own career to find no false notes. Fans of Donald Trump won't like his portrayal; it's no spoiler to say that, in this crisis, he seems ignorant, bumbling, and certainly not helpful as events play out. The book itself is gripping, and seems realistic enough. It might not happen, but it could.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nick Black

    Incredibly disappointing. I've read Dr. Lewis's blog avidly for years (indeed, I cite it on my personal web page). His knowledge of nuclear/missile tech and especially the politics thereof is right on, hence the "armscontrolwonk" title. Unfortunately, none of that acumen or analysis is brought to bear in this "speculative novel", which isn't really much more than a skeletal draft written primarily, it seems, to take cheap and frankly grotesque shots at president trump. We get it; you don't like Incredibly disappointing. I've read Dr. Lewis's blog avidly for years (indeed, I cite it on my personal web page). His knowledge of nuclear/missile tech and especially the politics thereof is right on, hence the "armscontrolwonk" title. Unfortunately, none of that acumen or analysis is brought to bear in this "speculative novel", which isn't really much more than a skeletal draft written primarily, it seems, to take cheap and frankly grotesque shots at president trump. We get it; you don't like him. Few do. That doesn't excuse the incredibly tedious sense of historical exceptionalism with which people infuse their writing post 2016, as if they haven't spent their lives acting like every other Republican president was some kind of calamity. Lewis's book is less successful a technothriller than Clancy, less successful a look at nuclear war and its effects than Hersey, and less successful an intriguing look at our times than any issue of the Economist. Quite a shame, really =[.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    Ha ha, this is wonderful nightmare fuel! The author captures the mediocre intelligence and character of Donald Trump. At the end, though, the reader is left with a sense that any potential lessons for readers are pointless in the aftermath of the attacks. Oh well, what more can we expect in these fucked up times. 3.5 stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ward Muylaert

    God damnit good reads app ate my review again. PoS. So not as lengthy as I had at first: interesting book, different from my usual type. Well grounded in facts up until he started the future hypothetical situation and even that is still made to sound logical by tying it back to things that did happen.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    There are no two ways about it, this is such an interesting book. It is a fiction, and that has to be remembered, that is based upon an interpretation of how the current White House works. The setting is that it is a report of a Commission - along the lines of the 9-11 Commission - that is investigating how a nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea came about. It is set as written in 2023, and looks back at the events of 2020. In the context of the book, we are led along a pathway that is There are no two ways about it, this is such an interesting book. It is a fiction, and that has to be remembered, that is based upon an interpretation of how the current White House works. The setting is that it is a report of a Commission - along the lines of the 9-11 Commission - that is investigating how a nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea came about. It is set as written in 2023, and looks back at the events of 2020. In the context of the book, we are led along a pathway that is adorned by ill-will, bravado, and miscalculation. This applies on both sides of the exchange. The fiction has three pig-headed men, who were unwilling to step back from catastrophe, developing an environment of mutual mistrust and suspicion. The actual nuclear exchange almost happens by accident. The South Korean President needs to act against North Korea. The North Korean President needs to retaliate against South Korea and misinterprets the actions of the American President as indicating an immediate attack, against which he launches what turns out to be a first strike. The book points to a number of features that students of contemporary international relations might want to track. Central to the book is a chaotic approach to government within the Trump White House. There is probably a grain of truth to this view, but we must be mindful that the insider tales to have emerged so far are from the the disgruntled and the fired. There is still time for a more nuanced view to emerge, but so far the evidence points in the direction of the book. I was unaware that Mar-A-Lago was such an unsuitable residence for the President. It may have a nice golf course and a good restaurant, but it has very little in the way of communications infrastructure and hardened defences in the event of an attack. More than that, it is not large enough to accommodate all of the essential staff, which means that time is taken in just moving around. This becomes a factor in the story, and I suspect that it would be a factor in a real life emergency. There is the question of the tempraments of the principal actors. I'm not sure that I found these to be the most convincing. Kim Jong Un was, perhaps, the least convincing. Perhaps it is because so little is known of him and his inner circle? I was left feeling that there must be more to the character than was presented. I see the real Kim as far smater than the book portrays. President Trump is an enigma to himself. There were nice touches, such as diplomacy by Twitter, but I do wonder if there isn't more of a team effort than the one the book gives us? After all, President Trump was smart enough to manoeuver both the Republicans and the Democrats to win office. I don't quite buy the idea of the incompetent President. Well, not yet, at least. There were one or two gaps in the book that I didn't understand. For example, what were China, Russia, and Japan doing as events unfolded? My own view is that Russia and China would have a more central role if these events were ever to come close to happening. I also felt that South Korea was far more aggressive than we could expect, and I didn't quite see from where that aggression came. I undertsand the outrage of the South Koreans over the downed airliner, but the pathway to a military response, espcially one not sanctioned by the Americans, stretched incredulity a bit too far for me. Which takes me back to my initial point. This is a fiction. I enjoyed the pace of the fiction and I enjoyed the narrative. Most of the characters are based upon the author's interpretation of real characters. It has to be remembered that the real people might not be anything like the people portrayed in the book. I found the unfolding of events to be compelling, and, rare for me, I read the book in more or less one sitting. It is that good!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Max

    A speculative novel, written by a nonproliferation expert, that deals with the simple question: How could an accidental nuclear war with North Korea happen, and what would it look like? I made my way through the book in two evenings, foregoing most other activities, which should tell you all you need to know about this book. It is a well-written, sobering reminder that with nuclear weapons in the mix, we are always on the brink of killing large numbers of people because of misunderstandings, bad A speculative novel, written by a nonproliferation expert, that deals with the simple question: How could an accidental nuclear war with North Korea happen, and what would it look like? I made my way through the book in two evenings, foregoing most other activities, which should tell you all you need to know about this book. It is a well-written, sobering reminder that with nuclear weapons in the mix, we are always on the brink of killing large numbers of people because of misunderstandings, bad communication, and just plain old bad luck. Speaking a few days after the release, in August 2018, the book is very much up to date, with Donald Trump and his cadre of officials (some of which are still those in power today, some their inevitable replacements) presiding over the debacle that occurs in this fictional version of year 2020. There are some nice touches, with Trump tweets playing a central role, but it never gets implausible. I should note that while the book is written in the form of a report by a commission tasked with investigating the events of 2020 (hence the title), it contains graphic descriptions of what happens to victims of nuclear attacks, and as you might imagine, these are not for the faint of heart. I found this book to be yet another powerful reminder for why nuclear weapons are dangerous, and why we would all be better off without them in the mix. If you are at all interested in nuclear weapons or foreign policy, read this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dan Bloethe

    Usually when American or Western authors right about North Korea, they tend to ignore South Korean interests (assuming it to be the same as the United States') and that North Korea is irrational. Both assumptions are inherently false and it is reflected by the book. The author writes the book in a way that seems realistic. By writing the book as a government report, the author is able to both chronologically track the conflict and to examine the motives behind all countries leaders. A good and u Usually when American or Western authors right about North Korea, they tend to ignore South Korean interests (assuming it to be the same as the United States') and that North Korea is irrational. Both assumptions are inherently false and it is reflected by the book. The author writes the book in a way that seems realistic. By writing the book as a government report, the author is able to both chronologically track the conflict and to examine the motives behind all countries leaders. A good and unorthodox introduction to geopolitics in Korea and an informative read for people already acquainted to the region.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hruotland

    This is not a novel. This is speculative fiction in the style of a non-fiction book. No protagonist, no dialogue, just description. Trump did this Mun Jaein¹ did that, Kim Chŏngŭn² did that. The rule for novels is “show, don’t tell”. The rule here was “Tell, tell, tell. Then tell some details everybody knows. Then tell some unimportant detail you came across during research.” That is how the whole book is written. “Now this politician decided this. That is like what happened before, in 2013 in K This is not a novel. This is speculative fiction in the style of a non-fiction book. No protagonist, no dialogue, just description. Trump did this Mun Jaein¹ did that, Kim Chŏngŭn² did that. The rule for novels is “show, don’t tell”. The rule here was “Tell, tell, tell. Then tell some details everybody knows. Then tell some unimportant detail you came across during research.” That is how the whole book is written. “Now this politician decided this. That is like what happened before, in 2013 in Korea and in 2003 in Iraq.³” Again and again and again. It’s quite tedious. Let’s take the first scene: in an airliner most of the instruments suffer a power failure. In a novel, you would start with one of the pilots thinking about this or that, maybe the young passengers going to live in yurts for a few weeks, and then you have em getting quite a fright when suddenly they whole aircraft is broken and ey has to work hard to keep it flying. Great drama. Nice opening scene. But no, we get about a page or two about how several A320s did In Real Life suffer this exact problem. I have the receipts! Here is when and where it happened. (But something’s wrong there: a flight from London to Budapest had problems over Nantes‽) There is something else odd in the scene, too: an aircraft leaving the planned flight path and flying towards enemy territory without answering the radio is reason to scramble some QRA-style interceptors, especially when the transponder is off.⁴ No, seriously. Don’t print “novel” on the cover of works that are not novels. And don’t spend something like half of your “novel” talking about past events only remotely connected to the plot. There’s a bunch of other stuff that would cost it one star (★★★★☆ instead of ★★★★★), some minor, some not so much. Who calls an A320 a “jumbo jet”? Why is nobody panicking because of fallout and radiation in chapter 6? Why isn’t the whole post-attack horror show done then, but only in chapter 10, after America is attacked? That said, yeah, looks like a nuclear war might break out this way. That leaves the question: how to get the real politicians to be half as scared as this book has left me? — ¹ In Revised Romanization, apparently the main Romanization in South Korea ² In McCune–Reischauer romanization, apparently the main Romanization in North Korea ³ And then there is an end note citing the sources to proof that those things in 2013 and 2003 really did happen. ⁴ With the transponder on, you usually just have to re-establish communications(view spoiler)[, that is, wake the pilots up (hide spoiler)] .

  22. 5 out of 5

    Anatolikon

    Imagine the 9/11 report met World War Z and they had a child about a speculative nuclear war between North Korea and the United States. It's a gripping and harrowing read, and while I think it's a good look the potential consequences of events, it's unfortunate that Lewis does not make more of an argument, because he clearly is capable of doing so. In short, a technical error leads to the mis-identification of a civilian aircraft that the North Koreans shoot down. South Korea responds with a lim Imagine the 9/11 report met World War Z and they had a child about a speculative nuclear war between North Korea and the United States. It's a gripping and harrowing read, and while I think it's a good look the potential consequences of events, it's unfortunate that Lewis does not make more of an argument, because he clearly is capable of doing so. In short, a technical error leads to the mis-identification of a civilian aircraft that the North Koreans shoot down. South Korea responds with a limited strike, but poor communication and lack of information rapidly turns into spiraling escalation and the bomb comes down. A lot of times. Most of this book is focused on mis-communication and actors thinking that they're behaving rationally, but then their actions being interpreted in a different light. It's all too plausible of a scenario given that we live in a world where nuclear weapons exist on hair-trigger alert. What's less explicitly clear is any discussion of proliferation. Lewis' view is evidently that we're only one accident away from catastrophe, but he leaves it up to his readers to come to their own conclusions about nuclear policy. Since readers are going to do that anyway, I'd have appreciated a little more discussion by a man who clearly knows a lot about the subject. The other issue that I have with the book is that at times it feels a bit skeletal and some parts are much more fleshed out then others. We spend a lot of time in the company of a certain American president, but then are just expected to go with other parts of the tale that are completely unexplained. For example, Lewis illustrates heavy losses amongst South Korean and American military forces in the opening act of the conflict, yet within a few hours they appear to have crossed into North Korea and the USAF is carrying out extensive combat missions. We're told the airfields survived, but nothing about the erosion of North Korean air defences, all that artillery on the DMZ shuts off once the South Koreans return fire and we never hear about it again, and somehow the North Korean conventional army simply isn't present.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mac

    Jeffrey Lewis developed an excellent idea for a book--a contemporary realistic international crisis that turns into futuristic dystopian fiction. It's a good premise, but his execution is only fair. First, the realism, then the fiction. By choosing 2020--and not say 2050--the people are today's government officials (or identifiable stand-ins), and the international threats to peace are today's threats ratcheted up to nuclear conflict levels. Here are the people and problems of 2018 on full displa Jeffrey Lewis developed an excellent idea for a book--a contemporary realistic international crisis that turns into futuristic dystopian fiction. It's a good premise, but his execution is only fair. First, the realism, then the fiction. By choosing 2020--and not say 2050--the people are today's government officials (or identifiable stand-ins), and the international threats to peace are today's threats ratcheted up to nuclear conflict levels. Here are the people and problems of 2018 on full display. These people and their problems create a horrifying nuclear confrontation just two short years from now. As an idea for a book, so far, so good. But the execution of the idea is not so successful. The book doesn't sound or feel like a commission report. The narrator is "Jeffrey Lewis, PhD, On behalf of the 2020 Commission," which creates the problem. Lewis as narrator is part novelist, part newspaper reporter, part commissioner. The blended points of view create reading confusion, not enjoyment. Sometimes, the narrator presents just the facts, sometimes he's offering tension-raising fiction, and sometimes he's Stanley Kubrick serving up Dr Strangelove satire pointed mostly at Donald Trump. So I wish Lewis had been more discriminating and consistent in his point of view. As one possibility, Lewis could have made the book a pure commission report without the novelistic turns. For instance, he could have spoken as an unbiased commissioner, and his report could have included report section numbering for chapters (1.1...1.2...1.3...) as well as date stamped reference materials such as partially redacted document excerpts, emails, and phone intercepts. With these changes and others, the book could look and sound like a comprehensive report. To summarize, Lewis's "speculative novel" is a good idea that could be even better as a pure novel. And the book might be better still if Lewis had been bolder, creating a mock report. That's because his hybrid point of view--novelist, newspaper reporter, commissioner--doesn't work for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Kresal

    One might have thought that the days of Americans worrying about a nuclear attack were long-past with the end of the Cold War. Yet, as the crises with North Korea and Iran prove, they are anything but relics of the Cold War. With The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States (hereafter referred to as the 2020 Commission for the sake of brevity), writer Jeffrey Lewis spins a yarn of a VERY near future nuclear attack upon the United States and the events One might have thought that the days of Americans worrying about a nuclear attack were long-past with the end of the Cold War. Yet, as the crises with North Korea and Iran prove, they are anything but relics of the Cold War. With The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States (hereafter referred to as the 2020 Commission for the sake of brevity), writer Jeffrey Lewis spins a yarn of a VERY near future nuclear attack upon the United States and the events leading up to it. Written as a government commission report from 2023, Lewis' 2020 Commission follows the events across roughly 48 hours in March 2020. Termed "a speculative novel" on the front cover, it presents a series of events that starts with the North Korean military mistaking a South Korean airliner for an American military plane and shooting it down. As the narrative/report progresses, decisions and assumptions made by the leaders of all three governments involved (including the current administration at the time of writing), lead to military escalation and, eventually, the events alluded to in the title. Running a little more than 300 pages, it's a book that packs quite a wallop. A big reason for that is just plausible it feels. Lewis, as his "notes" will attest, is quite keen to anchor the events of this future (soon to be alternate history) conflict in the real world. Knowledgable readers will find echoes of events ranging from the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, incidents from the Cold War, and 9/11 informing the speculation. Indeed, systematically going through the notes as I read through it, it was difficult not to be surprised at how much Lewis drew from those accounts. Nor is that to the detriment of the 2020 Commission as a novel. Quite the opposite, in fact, as it makes the scenario laid out all the more terrifying. Indeed, Lewis incorrectly guesses just who on Trump's national security team would remain come 2020, but that's a minor quibble and one that doesn't take away from the overall power of the work. In the mid-1980s, former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara authored a study of nuclear weapons policy called Blundering Into Disaster. More than three decades later, Jeffrey Lewis has shown in the 2020 Commission just how we might find ourselves tragically living up to McNamara's title in the near future. March 2020 might soon be history (and may well be by the time you read this review), but the events in this "speculative novel" could happen tomorrow, next year, or in five years. And that is a worrying thought, to be sure.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Achin

    Excellent read. The author is a world-leading expert on weapons of mass destruction and that is very clear from just about every paragraph. This is essentially a warning told as a fictitious story to spark thought and concern in the reader. As literature, it's a little shaky; changes in narrative voice veer from the dry and factual "commission report" of the title and into the subjective personal voice of a narrator who injects abstract descriptions and personal opinions. There have been mixed r Excellent read. The author is a world-leading expert on weapons of mass destruction and that is very clear from just about every paragraph. This is essentially a warning told as a fictitious story to spark thought and concern in the reader. As literature, it's a little shaky; changes in narrative voice veer from the dry and factual "commission report" of the title and into the subjective personal voice of a narrator who injects abstract descriptions and personal opinions. There have been mixed reviews about the backhanded swats against President Trump, but I find them amusing and, as alluded to in the previous sentence, once you realize that the author is aiming for a warning rather than a Nobel Prize in literature, you can cut the author some slack on the writing itself and focus on the bottom-line message-- that Trump is a dangerous and ephemerally moody president, in his view. It might have been nice if the author had found clearer, separarely-channeled ways to mix his narrative voice, a la Max Brooks World War Z for example. By simply interspersing "media clippings" from journalists he might have invoked softer, more descriptive narrative voices while letting dry commission findings passages do the heavy lifting of laying out the mechanics of nuclear war.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    This book is terrifying, tragic, and enlightening in equal measures. A well-regarded scholar on nuclear weapons at the Middlebury Institute, Jeffrey Lewis brings an unmatched level of expertise to this astonishing work of speculative fiction. Set in the year 2023, the 2020 Commission Report details the lead-up to and aftermath of nuclear attacks from North Korea on first Japan and South Korea, and later the United States. The most terrifying aspect of this book has to be the degree to which Lewis This book is terrifying, tragic, and enlightening in equal measures. A well-regarded scholar on nuclear weapons at the Middlebury Institute, Jeffrey Lewis brings an unmatched level of expertise to this astonishing work of speculative fiction. Set in the year 2023, the 2020 Commission Report details the lead-up to and aftermath of nuclear attacks from North Korea on first Japan and South Korea, and later the United States. The most terrifying aspect of this book has to be the degree to which Lewis bases his book on fact. For instance, Lewis's conjecture that a nuclear attack on Tokyo might result in a fire storm is based on a recent real life high-rise fire in London where decorative insulation on the outside of the building caught fire. It is this attention to detail, and Lewis' commitment to grounding his book in events that have already occurred that give it more gravity than other fictional explorations of future conflicts. If you are interested in more of Jeffrey Lewis' work, definitely check out the Arms Control Wonk podcast, which he co-hosts with Aaron Stein: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/a...

  27. 5 out of 5

    Carsten

    This novel, describing a speculative future war between the US, let by the Trump administration, and North Korea is an interesting idea. Facts about NK and its history are included (with references). As for the story itself and as the title suggests, a number of unfortunate coincidences lead to devastating nuclear attacks in March 2020 against South Korea, Japan and the US. I think the beginnings of the hostilities are very realistic. But I am surprised about the authors ideas on the later stage This novel, describing a speculative future war between the US, let by the Trump administration, and North Korea is an interesting idea. Facts about NK and its history are included (with references). As for the story itself and as the title suggests, a number of unfortunate coincidences lead to devastating nuclear attacks in March 2020 against South Korea, Japan and the US. I think the beginnings of the hostilities are very realistic. But I am surprised about the authors ideas on the later stages of the war, in particular what the US is (not) going to do. And what about the reactions of China and Russia? What lets this book down is the author's distaste towards Trump. Yes, I can see Trump acting in a very non-presidential way (including his Twitter feeds at the time when it gets really hot), but I am hopeful that golf will not be on Trump's radar and that he will listen quickly to his advisors if something goes very wrong on the Korean peninsula....

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    Actually 4.5 🌟 Short review: WOW and HOLY $&_+! Slightly longer review: It's rare that I find a novel that I can't put down and finish in just over a day. Dr. Lewis has managed to write a completely believable (imo), Tom Clancy like-novel of a spiral out of control sneak attack on the United States by North Korea by weaving in news reports and modified survivor accounts from Hiroshima. I've never read the 9/11 Commission Report so I'm not sure if such scenarios/scenes/accounts such as the descri Actually 4.5 🌟 Short review: WOW and HOLY $&_+! Slightly longer review: It's rare that I find a novel that I can't put down and finish in just over a day. Dr. Lewis has managed to write a completely believable (imo), Tom Clancy like-novel of a spiral out of control sneak attack on the United States by North Korea by weaving in news reports and modified survivor accounts from Hiroshima. I've never read the 9/11 Commission Report so I'm not sure if such scenarios/scenes/accounts such as the description of Nikki Haley's alleged affair or Trump fighting with an aide over control of the 'football' would be included in a commission report. I thought the Haley account gratuitous, and the Trump account unnecessary to the story. I knocked off 1/2 🌟 for those. The footnotes should also be read in order to understand how Dr. Lewis framed his story. Have to give this one a highly recommended 👍👍

  29. 4 out of 5

    M.

    Actual rating might be 4.5 stars. I found this to be a well-written, totally plausible scenario of how a nuclear attack by North Korea would unfold. The author's speculation on how the Trump administration would react to such an attack seemed likely as well given how it has responded to past threats. Lewis is obviously knowledgeable about the history and politics of Korea as well as the federal government, and I was impressed that the book read more like a thriller than a dull government report.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nelson Minar

    Enjoyed reading this. It's a little preachy and already a little dated, but also a reasonable yarn about how quickly mistakes could escalate in international diplomacy. It's also sort of a charming document from the early Trump era when we still pretended he might be a competent President. The reality we have now is much more dismal.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.